The Strange World of Betting on TV Shows



Betting is fun and for the vast majority of people, it is also harmless and – particularly with the help of the internet – has bled into the world of television. I actually find this strange, for the most part, but television betting is actually becoming pretty big business for many bookies. Here are the strange ways people bet on TV and a couple of interesting stories that have arisen from the phenomenon.


Let’s start with the obvious one that isn’t weird at all and is the main aspect of television betting … and betting in general. Pretty much anyone with their own bank account has at one point decided to throw a little money down on an Olympic world record, a Grand National winner, or a football World Cup final. The promise of putting in a few quid and receiving a large reward, this is betting in its purest form, and of course, it occasionally throws up big surprises like the Leicester fan whose boss jokingly put a £10 bet on them winning the league. The women ended up winning £50,000 … I wonder if the boss is still laughing.

Strictly Come Dancing and X Factor

This now gets weirder when people start betting on competition shows like Strictly and X Factor. I suppose in a way, though, Strictly could be counted as a sport as people compete physically for a prize, but betting on which poor sap will be voted of the X Factor next is just a waste of money as it’s all a blatant fix anyway … I’m still bitter about Ella Henderson, so what?

Big Brother

I’m not even going to talk about this one … it’s just weird … Who bets on Big Brother? The only bet to put on is when they are going to stop flogging this particular dead horse.

Televised Bingo

Well, this one is slightly different and some of you may never have heard of Sun Bingo’s We’re Having a Ball which was hosted by Brian Dowling and Rustie Lee (a sentence I’d never thought I’d say) that was mainly only shown on the internet … but I’m still counting it! It featured celebrity guests and an interactive online chatroom that allowed people to directly interact with the celebrity guests. So instead of people betting on TV it was a show about betting on TV …

Awards Shows

Many people like to bet on awards shows, which is something I have done in the past, even though it’s completely futile. The only way to make any money on betting on awards shows is to actively pick the worst potential winner and hope for a Crash or How Green Was My Valley style Oscar win. I usually bet on the Oscars every year and I have rarely won anything substantial at all, so it’s better just to stick to football betting … which I know nothing about.

The Great British Scandal

This is an interesting … and to me … hilarious story that came out of the one of the biggest shows in British television history: The Great British Bake Off. Now, a bit like betting on Big Brother you have to ask questions of your own life when you’re betting on whether some poor soul is going to get booted of a cooking show for a particularly bad showing on Sausage Roll Week. They have actually stopped betting on this show because … and I can’t believe I’m writing this … the bookies kept losing loads of money because the BBC employees and contestants kept betting correctly, which is surprising as it’s not as if the show is filmed months in advance and so hundreds of people already knew the result each week … oh wait, it is? Oh.


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